Victoria’s multicultural advocate to serve second term

GRATEFUL: Dr Sundram Sivamalai is looking forward to reprising his role as community representative commissioner for VMC. Picture: Luka KauzlaricSundram Sivamalai feels both excited and fortunate to continuehis rolein promoting peace and harmony.
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Thecommunity representative commissioner for the Victorian Multicultural Commission, which acts as a voice and the mainlink between the diversemigrant communitiesand the state government, has beenreappointed for a second term.

“I am passionate and I put my hand up because I love doing it, I sincerely believe in doing it,” Dr Sivamalai said.

“You don’t come here because you want an accolade, you come because you seriously believe in it and you want to deliver the message.

Dr Sivamalai, who lives in Ballarat, said commissioners wereselected for their background,experience andknowledge of the issuesthey representedin order to lobby and advise government.

The formerfoundation chair of the Ballarat Regional Multicultural Council believed regionalareas were more disadvantagedcompared to metropolitan areas.

“I’m very passionate about regional areas, the reason being if you are in metro you find there are alternatives… whereas in the region you are limited,” Dr Sivamalaisaid.

One of the biggest issues affecting migrants in the region was employment.

Dr Sivamalai saidmigrants took on positions far below their education and experiencebecause of difficulties matching qualifications to overseas equivalents and lack of local work experience.

He used the example of a qualified doctor with a Muslim background who took on a position working in a bacon factory out of desperation.

Transport in regional areas can also poseproblems for migrants entering the workforce without a car or licence, with the jobs availableoften requiring travelling long distances.

Finding suitable housing was another issue, especially for migrants with large families not suited to the standard rental size, along withaffordability and difficulties in getting reference checks.

Intergenerational gaps could be hard on children, who oftenhad to balance the expectations at home with the cultural differences presented to them at school.

DrSivamalai is also eager to focus on education, including more flexibile adult English classes and more support for children in school, retirement, ensuring migrants know their rights and options, and the health sector, such as finding interpreters or having bilingual culturally-sensitivestaff.

But he believed some regionswere already doing a good job supporting multiculturalism, including Ballarat with its range of groups, initiatives and policy of welcome, and was optimistic about an inclusivefuture.

The Courier, Ballarat

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Samurai Beach Bungalows: 25 years of making manana better

Hands on: Sandy Munday cleaning the pool at Samarai Beach Bungalows. Pictures: Max Mason-HubersTwenty-five years ago, Sandy and Mark Munday, then in their late 20s, built a house for themselves in the Port Stephens area. Then the Mundaysleft and travelled around the world for the next 10 months.
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The trip was supposedly their last for a while, as when they returned they would build a few bungalows and start a small hostel business.

“We came back engaged,” Mark says. “We had our honeymoon before the wedding.”

Now, the bustling hostel in the bush is called Samurai Beach Bungalows, and since its inception, it’s been a place for backpackers and tourists from all walks of life to visit, andreturn to over and over.

The Hunter Tourism award-winning hostel just had their best January yet, and they’ve been mentioned in Lonely Planet, Rough Guide and German and French tourism guide books. Their occupancy rate thissummer is 86 per centand thewhole facility gets booked out several weekends a year for family and social groups.

A huge long-haired German shepherd named Bo can be spotted lounging around their small rainforest, along with kookaburras, tawny frogmouths, brush turkeys, possums, blue-tongued lizards and maybe a koala if you’re lucky.

Next to their reception and home is a lagoon-style saltwater pool. Nearby, nature activities are abundant, ranging from hiking to surfing to whale-watching.

On the map: Mark and Sandy Munday, owners of Samurai Beach Bungalows, an award-winning hostel mentioned in Lonely Planet, Rough Guide and German and French tourism guide books.

Unlike many accommodations in the Port Stephens area, this small habitat in Anna Bay was built for travellers, by travellers, with a design that encourages group interactions and communal mingling.

“Our catchphrase is ‘a touch of Asia in ’,” Sandy says. “People come in here and it’s a rainforest, its own eco-system, especially if they’re coming out of a mass-produced dorm room from Sydney where no one talks to you. There, it’s ‘here’s your number and key’. Here, we walk them to their room, and we know everybody by their first name.”

The bungalows built on three-and-a-half acres hold up to 31 guests. The Mundaysfirst built rooms One, Two, Three and Four. Later,they addedprivate rooms and even two cabins with an ensuite bathroom.

A large, covered bush kitchen complete with a massive barbecue sits in the middle of the accommodation, a great place for communal meals. The fire pit is perfect for a weekly campfire/pizza night where guests regularly swap stories.

INSPIRATIONThe vibe and design of their hostel was inspired based on the Mundays’ travels through Asia and Guatemala. They visited places in Thailand and Indonesia where the accommodation had high fences surrounding it to have total view control. Similarly, at Samurai, all the bungalows sit in a bit of a circle, facing inwards towards the trees and each other. This arrangements alsohelps minimize noise from the exterior.

Guatemala was the other location of inspiration for the Mundays. They visited fincas (farms) where they’d chill, sit around with other people and chat.

In Guatemala they stayed in treehouses and lounged hammocks. Structurally, Samurai is not the same, but a similar atmosphere is what they aim to create with a chilled, laid-back nature base.

“Guatemala is where we got the name ‘manana syndrome’,” Mark says.

Manana means “tomorrow”in Spanish. Onthe farms the Mundays wouldask their fellow travellers when they were leaving, and if theyresponded “manana”, theyknew they were having a good time.

“You want to make them feel welcome and at home. It’s the manana syndrome;you know you’ve done a good job when people want to stay another day,” Sandy says.

“I’ll spend 10 or 20 minutes checking someone in, because I want people to feel comfortable.”

“We like small places,” Mark says. “If someone walks past, it’s ‘how ya going, Frederic’, you remember people’s names.”

“It’s small enough to remember them when they come back,” he says.

The secret of success: “You want to make them feel welcome and at home,” says Sandy Munday. “It’s the manana syndrome; you know you’ve done a good job when people want to stay another day.”

The Mundays have many returning guests. Mark recalls a man named Roger who was Swiss and had a very distinct voice. Roger came back to Samurai two years later and before Mark had a chance to look up from the front desk, he heard Roger’s voice and greeted him by name.

The family vibe spills from professional to personal as well. Guests will occasionally have opportunities to volunteer on the property in exchange for accommodation. The Mundays refer to them as their “international children”.

At the time of writing they have a couple from South Africa volunteering at Samurai, and an American woman just left. These volunteers sometimes stay for a while, helping out with gardening, cleaning, and leading guest activities.

In exchange for their hospitality, the Mundays often get the royal treatment when they go abroad. They just returned from Germany and didn’t pay for accommodation. They stayed in Berlin with the parents of a German backpacker who volunteered in their garden when he was 18. His parents had gone on holiday and gave the Mundays their home for the duration of their absence. The Mundays said that previously their son came back to Samurai five or six times, and once he even stayed with them for a year-long while attending Newcastle Uni.

“He was in our house, he was just like a son,” Sandy says.

The two have been on some spectacular holidays throughout the years, including a trip to Machu Picchu, Croatia, Turkey, Portugal and even seven-month trip around in a caravan with their son and their dog. Their next holiday will be in Bali for their 25th anniversary.

When not travelling, the Mundays never really stop working or get much time off because they live on location.

To go with their bungalows, they also have some land, cows and cabins on the Allyn River which they host people via Stayz or through their own website. Between holidays, these two properties keep the Mundays very busy.

But the ongoing work doesn’t seem to faze them. Together the two have worked hard for decades to craft a life that they want while also helping visitors have experiences up to par with their own.

“They call them lifestyle businesses; this is our life business,” Sandy says

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VIDEO: Crawford Brothers are focusing in on pop ambitions

ON A MISSION: Hinton duo The Crawford Brothers are aiming for the stars with their latest single Highlife.
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THE Crawford Brothers aren’t hiding it. They’re crystal clear about their intentions.

They want to become certified pop stars and enjoy all the spoils it entails –the fame, the women and the money.

The Hinton duo’s latest single Highlife, completewith the self-produced and self-fundedHollywood-style music video, perfectly encapsulateswhat Ben and Zac Crawford are aiming to achieve.

Think limousines, country mansions, yachts with bikini girls, fancy hotel suites and lots and lots of cash, and you’ve got the idea.

“The original melody for the chorus, my brother [Zac] came up with it in LA,” Ben said.

“It was a spontaneous melody and then we started putting themesaround it. We had the general lyric about the highlife andextravagant lifestyles and the pinnacle of success. Something everyone can relate to.”

The Crawford Brothers have had plenty oftime in LA since 2015honing their craft among music industry representatives fromAtlantic Records andUniversal Music Group.

It’s spawned a debut self-titled EP which featured the track Feel thatwon the rock category of the 2016John Lennon Songwriting Competition, set up by the late Beatle’s widow Yoko Ono.

The Crawford Brothers are no strangers to accolades. They were formerly known as rock band Powerage, whowon the2010 YouthRock, a statewide competition that helped propel Silverchair to fame.

While Powerage and even early Crawford Brothers songs focused ona traditional rock sound, Highlife embraces aslicker pop instrumentation with elements of funk, soul and hip-hop aimed to get dance floors pumping.

Ben promises the secondsingle You and I will be a different beast.

The Crawford Brothers – Highlife“The girls will love it. It has more love themes,” he said.“I think Highlife is appealing to the fellas, or everyone really, but Youand I is more of a heartfelt tear-jerker.”

The Crawford Brothers were previously a four-piece featuringdrummer Adam Harris and bassist Ben Lawrence, but two years ago the two blonde-haired siblings made the decision to go it alone and handle allduties in the studio.

“It seems to just work a lot easier,” Ben said.

“My brother and I are on the same page and we’ve been at it together for 13 years now so it’s a lot more smooth sailing and not too many minds in the one pot.”

For the upcoming tour to support Highlife and You and I The Crawford Brothers will be joined by Newcastle drummer Hudson Wallace and Mexican bass playerRocko Van Köperen.They met VanKöperen in LA after he travelled from Mexico to Californiato follow his dream of joining a band.

“We ended up connecting with him on a brotherly level, it was crazy, and we did a heap of shows around America with him and at the end he had to sadly depart andgo home,” Ben said.

“We kept in good contact and we’re going to bring him over this year and tour and then jet back to the States and tour there.”

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Yemen PM prepares to flee Aden

YEMENYemen’s prime minister is preparing to flee the country for Saudi Arabia after separatists seized the area around the presidential palace in the southern port city of Aden in fierce battles overnight, security officials say.
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According to the officials, fighters loyal to the so-called Southern Transitional Council fought all way to the gates of the Palace of Maashiq in the district of Crater in Aden, forcing President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi’s troops to abandon their positions.

The officials said Hadi’s prime minister and several Cabinet members would leave imminently to Riyadh.

The palace is the seat of Yemen’s internationally backed government. The separatist forces did not enter the palace itself and were stopped by Saudi Arabian troops who have been guarding the palace for the past months.

However, a senior government official told The Associated Press that Prime Minister Ahmed Obaid Bin Daghar and several ministers remain inside and that the separatists have not seized the palace itself.

The official declined to say whether the prime minister was to leave Aden. The security officials and the government official spoke on condition of anonymity under regulations.

The fighting in Aden first erupted on Sunday, when a deadline issued by the separatists for the government to resign expired. Hadi, who himself is in self-imposed exile in Saudi Arabia has described the separatists’ action as a “coup.”

The violence in Aden has killed at least 36 people and wounded 185 since Sunday, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

It has also exposed deep divisions within the alliance between Hadi’s government and the Saudi-led coalition. The two are fighting against Yemen’s Shi’ite rebels, known as Houthis, who are in control of the country’s north.

The warring parties have been locked in a bloody stalemate for most of the last three years.

But within the Saudi-led coalition, allies from the United Arab Emirates have trained the separatist forces and empowered them over the past year, in a direct challenge to Hadi, who is in Riyadh.

The US State Department has expressed concern and called upon all parties to “refrain from escalation and further bloodshed.” Washington backs the Saudi-led coalition.

“We also call for dialogue among all parties in Aden to reach a political solution,” the statement said.

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Kyrgios returns to happy hunting ground

TEN DAVIS KYRGIOSA return to happy hunting ground Brisbane has provided a fatigued Nick Kyrgios a timely boost ahead of this week’s Davis Cup first round tie with Germany, Lleyton Hewitt says.
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The n team captain admitted they would have to monitor the world No.14 after Kyrgios backed up his Brisbane International triumph with a gutsy fourth-round finish at the n Open.

But Hewitt had no doubt Kyrgios would be primed for the first round tie starting on Friday, saying the n No.1 was excited by the prospect of extending his domination of Pat Rafter Arena.

Kyrgios, 22, only has fond memories of the venue after claiming both singles rubbers in ‘s Davis Cup triumph over the United States last April before his Brisbane International breakthrough earlier this month – his first title on home soil.

“He’s had a big summer so we will monitor him and make sure he gets through, (but) he will be ready come Friday,” Hewitt said of the dual grand slam quarterfinalist.

“He was excited when we decided to come back to Brisbane and play Davis Cup.

“And he was happy to come back and play the Brisbane International this year after the Davis Cup success (against the USA).

“The feels he got from playing here, it gives him a lot of confidence.

“Plus it’s a court that suits his game and serving style.”

Kyrgios improved three places in the rankings after arriving at the n Open as the world No.17 before being beaten in four tight sets in the fourth round against then-world No.3 Grigor Dimitrov.

His career-high ranking is No.13, achieved in late 2016.

Kyrgios also drastically improved his public image in Melbourne, emerging as a fan favourite 12 months after he was booed on court at the n Open.

Hewitt hinted that Kyrgios would have pulled off the transformation earlier if the public knew what the 22-year-old did behind the scenes.

“It (Kyrgios’ attitude) has been good. For me, it’s been good a lot of the time,” Hewitt said.

“Obviously he has a couple of down times during the year at stages but they are always highlighted as well.

“But people probably don’t give him the credit he deserves for the stuff he does throughout the year.

“He’s unbelievable with the junior kids and he has been fantastic for our guys in the Davis Cup team.”

The draw for the first round tie will be held on Thursday.

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Seaplane took wrong turn before NYE crash

SEAPLANE CRASH RECOVERYAir crash investigators are mystified as to why a Sydney Seaplanes pilot left the normal flight path and headed into Jerusalem Bay shortly before his plane crashed killing all six people on board.
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The n Transport Safety Bureau officials likened the plane’s unusual course to someone turning into a dead-end street instead of onto the freeway.

The bureau’s preliminary report into the fatal New Year’s Eve incident – released on Wednesday – found no evidence of problems with the DHC-2 Beaver.

The seaplane, piloted by Canadian Gareth Morgan, crashed into the Hawkesbury River on December 31 with high profile UK businessman Richard Cousins and his family on board.

Bureau executive director Nat Nagy says the investigation will examine whether someone suffered a medical episode. The ATSB is still waiting on autopsy reports from the coroner.

While engine and propeller experts are working to rule out less obvious mechanical faults the investigation is now focused on Mr Morgan’s actions moments before the crash.

The expected flight path should have seen Mr Morgan taxi away from Cottage Point, take off and turn east to gain altitude over the Hawkesbury River.

Instead, he turned northwest and, flying below the height of the mountainous terrain, entered Jerusalem Bay and made a sharp right-hand turn before the plane dropped nose-down into the water.

“One of the key lines of inquiry, for us now, is to work out exactly what was happening throughout that time,” Mr Nagy told reporters in Sydney.

“Firstly, why the pilot turned that way, and then whether it was an attempt to turn around or whether it was a planned turn as well.”

Sydney Seaplanes chief executive Aaron Shaw says the Beaver was not supposed to be in the bay and the sharp turn before the crash was “totally inexplicable”.

“It is not a route we authorise in our landing and take-off area register and the plane simply should not have been where it was,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.

“The aircraft is then reported to have entered into an 80 to 90-degree bank angle turn.

“A turn of this nature at low altitude by a pilot with Gareth’s skills, experience and intimate knowledge of the location is totally inexplicable.”

AAP understands Sydney Seaplanes pilots are instructed to never fly through Jerusalem Bay.

Aircraft engineer Michael Greenhill, familiar with ‘s Beaver planes, has in the past seen some pilots fly into the bay.

“It’s not an everyday occurrence but, from time to time, they use the bay to turn around,” he told AAP.

Mr Greenhill said the tailwind mentioned in the ATSB report would have made it harder to complete such a low-speed, low-altitude turn.

“(I’m) not sure why he was there this day,” he said.

“Sounds like to tight a turn with not enough airspeed to me … with a headwind he may have been fine.”

Mr Nagy says the seaplane would have struggled to achieve the lift required to escape the bay’s steep terrain.

The final investigation report will take many more months, Mr Nagy said, but critical aircraft safety information will be released before then.

The ATSB wants to hear from witnesses who may have seen any part of the plane’s flight from Cottage Point to its turn into Jerusalem Bay to help piece together the final minutes of the doomed flight.

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Bombers target AFL finals win: Merrett

AFL BOMBERSEssendon Bombers star Zach Merrett has set the bar at winning a finals game in 2018.
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After collecting the wooden spoon in 2016, John Worsfold’s side surged into the finals last season after welcoming back the core group of players who served doping bans.

But they came crashing to earth with a 65-point elimination final loss to the Sydney Swans.

A recruiting spree that netted Jake Stringer, Devon Smith and Adam Saad followed, fuelling optimism at Bomberland.

“To add three pretty quality players … hopefully means we will improve,” Merrett told SEN on Tuesday.

“The expectation is to improve which means we obviously need to win a final.

“Losing pretty poorly to Sydney last year was really disappointing.

“I think a lot of guys will still be holding onto that loss, I guess improving would be to win a final and experience winning those big games.”

Merrett is keen to take his game to the next level after winning the club’s best-and-fairest award in 2016 and earning All n honours last season.

He was eager to learn as much as he could when he rubbed shoulders with some of the game’s greats in the most recent international rules series.

“I spent a lot of time with Nat Fyfe actually … he sat next to me most of the time,” Merrett said of the Brownlow Medal winner.

“To pick his brain and work out how he goes about it was great, but I certainly made sure I sat there and didn’t say too much.

“I listened to the way (Joel) Selwood and Paddy (Dangerfield) went about their work and tried to take in as much as I could.”

Essendon kick off their 2018 season with a Friday night clash against Adelaide at Etihad Stadium on March 23.

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Scorchers are the BBL’s greatest: Bancroft

BBL SCORCHERSCameron Bancroft has declared the Perth Scorchers the BBL’s greatest-ever team, and he wants them to convert the city’s new $1.5 billion stadium into a fortress.
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The Scorchers’ success in ‘s T20 competition is unrivalled – three titles, and two runner-up finishes in six completed seasons under master coach Justin Langer.

Perth have the chance to continue that glittering dynasty when they take on the Hobart Hurricanes in Thursday night’s semi-final at Optus Stadium in Perth.

If the Scorchers win that match, they’ll host the final on Sunday given they finished the regular season on top of the table.

A sellout crowd of 55,000 is expected to turn out for Thursday’s match.

But just how Scorchers players adapt to their shift from the WACA remains the big unknown.

The Burswood venue made its grand opening last Sunday – with losing to England by 12 runs in a thrilling ODI match.

Bancroft said he and his teammates would have to prove themselves at the new stadium.

“It’s a bit of a weird one,” Bancroft said.

“The one thing we do have is the respect – we’re the best team in this competition. We have been since the beginning of time since the beginning of BBL.

“We’ll showcase our skills… If we can do that, I’m sure we can make Perth Stadium a brand new home and a brand new fortress for us.”

The Hurricanes will be without this season’s leading runscorer – D’Arcy Short – because of international duties.

Bancroft said without Short, Hobart’s biggest threat with the bat was veteran George Bailey.

And he said West Indies paceman Jofra Archer was a big weapon with the ball.

Archer has taken 15 wickets at an average of 19.7 this season.

“He’s got a bit of an arrogance about him,” Bancroft said of Hobart’s star import.

“But in saying that, he’s been able to back that up with his skills in the tournament. We respect him really highly.

“That over he got Maxy Klinger out in that game a few weeks ago was without a doubt a yard quicker than his first over.

“That’s what he’s able to bring – he kind of jogs in, and just lets go with a thunderbolt. You certainly don’t expect that. He’s a class player.”

The Scorchers will be boosted by the return of Shaun Marsh and Mitch Marsh, but spinner Ashton Agar will be missing because of international duties.

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Vic turtle and tortoise mark milestones

MELBOURNE TERRY THE TURTLE MILESTONETurtles and tortoises may share a confusing likeness, but the lives of two of the species’ most prominent Melbourne residents are distinctively different.
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In fact, as one giant land-based tortoise celebrates its 1960s arrival in the city, a small water-loving turtle is making flipper-sized strides in its preparation to wave goodbye.

The turtle, known as Terry, is inching closer to his long-awaited sea return and was put through his paces at Melbourne Aquarium on Wednesday morning.

Flanked by divers, Terry swam practice laps around a 2.2 million-litre tank in the presence of other aquatic animals ahead of his release back into the wild at Mallacoota in early February.

The little green sea turtle, estimated to be about five years old, has called the Victorian aquarium home since August while being nursed back to strength after washing ashore on a Rye beach in poor health.

“Though it will be sad to wave goodbye, Terry’s release is the moment that our dedicated aquarists and veterinary staff have worked towards over the last six months,” exhibit manager Tereza Todd said, noting his weight had doubled while in care.

Across town and a few hours later Melbourne Zoo commemorated the 53rd anniversary of giant tortoise Wilbur being welcomed to his iconic home.

Wilbur, estimated to be about 87, has been a zoo staple since arriving from Seychelles as a Mauritius government gift in 1965.

Using fruit, zoo staff spelled out ‘1965’ atop a lucerne hay ‘cake’ for the mammoth 190kg-plus creature to devour while using the opportunity to measure his enormous 150cm shell.

Unlike his genetic cousin Terry, Wilbur has no plans for a slow-moving seachange with keepers confident he’ll likely call the zoo home for another 80 years.

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Ex-Aust F1 Grand Prix boss Ron Walker dies

OBIT WALKERA leading figure in F1 motor sport, staunch Liberal Party supporter, successful businessman and all-round fighter.
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That’s how friends, political allies and fellow business names have remembered Ron Walker, who has died aged 78.

Mr Walker, the man who brought the n Grand Prix to Melbourne, died after battling cancer for several years.

The millionaire Melbourne businessman was the n F1 Grand Prix Corporation chairman for 22 years before retiring in 2015.

He wrested the world-renowned race from Adelaide to Melbourne in 1993 and played a role in the creation of Crown Casino, and was briefly Melbourne’s Lord Mayor in the 1970s.

Mr Walker was a prominent Liberal Party figure, working as national treasurer of the party from 1987 to 2002.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull led the tributes describing him as “a great n, magnificent Melburnian and ferociously committed Liberal”.

“Ron was a wise and true friend to me as he was to so many Liberal leaders. We will not see his like again. Our hearts go out to Barbara and their family at this sad time,” Mr Turnbull tweeted.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott wrote: “, Victoria and Melbourne have lost a great son with Ron Walker’s passing. For decades, not much happened in Melbourne without Ron being at the centre of things.

“As well, he was a great supporter of good causes, from medical research to the Liberal Party, which he helped to keep together in tough times.

“He was a staunch friend and constant encouragement to successive Liberal leaders and will be much missed.”

The Confederation of n Motor Sport tweeted: “CAMS is saddened to learn of the passing of former n Grand Prix Corporation chairman Ron Walker.

“His contribution to the n motor sport landscape will forever be remembered.”

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said “whether feared or revered, Ron was someone who you never forgot”.

“It’s in great part thanks to Ron that (Melbourne is) now known as the sporting capital of the world,” he said in a statement.

Mr Walker’s relationship with former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett helped him to become the chairman of the n Grand Prix Corporation and in delivering Melbourne the hosting rights for the event.

Mr Walker served as chairman of Fairfax Media from 2005 to 2009 and was an AC – Companion of the Order of .

In 1976 he held a partnership with Melbourne businessman, Lloyd Williams and the pair formed a property development company called Hudson Conway, which developed the Crown Casino complex in Melbourne.

He also served as the chairman of the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games Corporation and served as the Lord Mayor of Melbourne from 1974 to 1976.

Mr Walker is survived by his wife Barbara, three children and three grandchildren.

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